Kathy Almeida first wrote on October 22, 2002 not long after she had purchased a small Dwarf Schefflera from  Dan's Greenhouse of Lahaina, Maui.  "KEEPING PLANTS SMALL - Part I" is posted at www.fukubonsai.com/4c3b.html .  Part I began with a question about "mold," progressed to her first heavy pruning on June 18, 2003 after she had her plant about 6 months.  It showed follow-up of the regrowth, and a second heavy pruning in September of 2004.  On September 20, 2006, I received the following email:

Hi David,

            We havenít corresponded in over a yearÖ how time flys by!!  I have a new email address and want to get back on your mailing list for your newsletter.  I hope that everything is going good for you and your business.  We recently spent two weeks on Maui and visited Dan's Greenhouse and thought of you every time we went there.

            We moved from the Bay Area in California to above Sacramento to a little town called Lincoln. My bonsai is no longer in a greenhouse window with the perfect conditions as before.  But, my plant is still going strong and surviving the high temperatures here.  I now keep it on my kitchen counter with indirect light (see photo).  I canít believe itís been two years since Iíve trimmed the tree!  Iíve only trimmed it 3 times since purchasing it September of 2002, which was August í03, September Ď04 and September í06.  To get the tree fuller and develop a bigger trunk, but still keep the plant compact, should I trim it twice a year and in the spring or summer instead of late summer?  I have attached pictures of the latest trimming.

            As always, thanks for your time David and I look forward to hearing from you.  Take care,  ~Kathy


BEFORE:  22" wide x 12" high!
TOP VIEW:  2 sections to trim back

AFTER.  In just two cuts, Kathy has her lava planting back to manageable size.  

      Kathy has always had great growth as she uses "enriched water" each time she waters. This is a proven technique used by many of our more successful customers and is highly recommended. Her plant has one heavy long root that lengthens and curls around the bottom of the wood bowl.

Two cuttings and shortened root
View of the indirect lighting in its new home
               WOW Kathy,  you're really making it look easy!  You've come a long way from the first note I got back in 2002 and I thank you for sharing the three times that you've pruned this tree.  I generally advise allowing a new branch to grow out 5 to 7 new leaves before pruning back to 1 or 2 leaves.  This results in 3 to 5 leaf cuttings that can be rooted to start new plants.  But if pruned more often when there are about 3-4 new leaves, you'll be trimming more often before the leaves get large and this will result in a more compact plant, although cuttings may be too small to root.  

               Kathy takes GREAT photos and I thought everyone would enjoy seeing how this tree has evolved in the past four years.

Almeida Kathy 10.22.02  mold 1.jpg (37178 bytes)
Alameida Kathy 6.17.03 overall after.jpg (22073 bytes)
AUGUST 2003 after first trimming
wpe1B.jpg (12086 bytes)
SEPTEMBER 2004 after second trimming
SEPTEMBER 2006 after third trimming
                When Kathy first wrote, she set as her training goal to maintain the same size and she's done so!  Congratulations Kathy!  You've again done a great job of figuring out what needed to be done and sharing it with the website readers. Kathy submitted the eight photos that were of ideal size and clearly told the story!  THANK YOU!

                My own understanding greatly increased after I began teaching Bonsai Evening Adult Education Classes at Aiea High School in Honolulu in 1966.  But back then, my students had a very difficult time obtaining appropriate plants to use in the workshops.  Fuku-Bonsai initially began as a part-time backyard nursery specifically to supply prepared bonsai stock for beginner bonsai classes. 

                A few years ago we developed a "Premium Keiki Bonsai Workshop Package" and this continues to be an ideal package.  It is large enough with established roots protected within a rock planting so there's an extremely high success rate. But it's a bet costly due to the amount of work to put together the components including premium stock that is already rock-planted and 4 to 7 years in training.

                Fuku-Bonsai is currently developing an "Introductory Bonsai Workshop Package" that will be ideal for individual's first hands-on bonsai workshop.  These will be available to individuals as well as those teaching beginner bonsai classes.  By bulk-packaging the components,  we will be able to supply instructors or school districts at attractive prices. Please write for more information if interested.  I'll be asking Kathy and a few other correspondents to field test, evaluate and share a critique and photo report.   ~~~David


                In May of 2007, Kathy was asked to field-test the new Introductory Workshop Package and to ask two of her friends to also try them. She did, they did, and the great photo reports are titled:  Kathy Alameida & Introductory Workshop Packages!

               We invite those who are willing and able to learn while teaching others to also create a page and share the development of their trees.  Those interested in participating are invited to contact:
                David Fukumoto, founder and president, Fuku-Bonsai Inc.
                     PO Box 6000 (Olaa Road), Kurtistown, Hawaii 96760
                     Phone (808) 982-9880;   FAX (808) 982-9883
                     E-mail:  david@fukubonsai.com        URL:  www.fukubonsai.com


         Earlier this year I got an email from Kathy that they would be visiting the Big Island and we were delighted when they arrived.  After a quick tour I got to learn more from her.  Kathy just has a great sense of the amount of water that the plant needs and she was amongst the first to suggest that when the plants are growing well, that the root tips are fleshy and white.  When the plant is being over-watered, roots are black and rotting.
                 She tells me her little small size lava planting is doing fine. It's the oldest small size Dwarf Schefflera lava planting that has been documented.  Fuku-Bonsai is very fortunate to have so many customers and friends like the Alamedas who are willing to share their experience.  We continue to get emails from our customers and their ideas have helped us to create the most successful gift bonsai for anyone anywhere who can grow houseplants!   MAHALO HANK AND KATHY!
                  Everyone is cordially invited to visit.  If you want to take special advanced workshop, please email ahead.  We like to experiment and often, we do experimental demonstrations of our latest techniques.  WE'RE CONSTANTLY LEARNING TOO!
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